First-Generation Students: Experiences and Advice, Part 1
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First-Generation Students: Experiences and Advice, Part 1

The three-part series “First-Generation Students: Experiences and Advice” starts here. This series will highlight first-generation students’ journeys to graduate school, their experiences at Salus, and some advice they have for other first-generation students looking to continue their studies at the graduate level. These students hail from Memphis, California, Puerto Rico, and many other parts of the map. When asked to describe their journey to Salus, the students interviewed responded as follows:

Can you describe your journey to Salus?

Student Eddie Diaz Serrano shown in black collard shirt in white room with modern art designs in the background.Salus was one of my first schools that I wanted to go to. It caught my attention because of the clinical hours. But what really struck a chord with me in the best possible way was the scholarships, that they rewarded their students for doing a good job. That wasn't something that a lot of colleges did, and I really appreciated that. 

  • So I moved to the United States in 2010, and went to Temple University for my undergrad in Communication Sciences and Disorders. I took a little bit of a break to work and get into a financially comfortable spot. And during the pandemic, I decided to apply to Salus University, and here I am.

  • From about sophomore year of undergrad, I knew I wanted to be in the medical profession because of my interest in biology. I narrowed it down to optometry after learning of the positive impact optometrists have in the daily life of their patients. I chose Salus because I knew Salus is in Philadelphia, and I love the big city vibe, being from Southern California. It's also the city of brotherly love, and there are a lot of friendly people out here. 

  • I went to undergrad at George Mason University, and, after graduating, I worked as an ER tech for a few years. Then I shadowed some really cool PAs. I knew I had to go to Salus, and become a PA myself.

  • Student Emaree Stone shown in white shirt in a well lit Salus clasroom with red chairs, white tables, and windows in the background.Actually, I took two gap years in order to figure out where I wanted to go. As I was researching schools, I started falling in love with Salus. And then I came and visited the campus, and I was sold.

  • I started my undergrad journey at community college where I received my associate's degree on a full scholarship. Then I moved on to pursue my bachelor's in biology at Rowan University. Then I came straight here to grad school.

  • My journey to Salus honestly wasn't too difficult. I was nervous at first, but honestly, the faculty at Salus really just were so supportive. Even through interviews on Zoom, in the middle of COVID, it was clear to me how much they cared about their students.

  • My journey to Salus actually started with my love of optometry. And so, before joining this program, I was very much involved in the field, helping out various vision clinics and volunteering. So once you get to be around people that are very inspirational and that want to be part of someone's life in a positive way, you really get inspired. So I started looking for optometry schools. And then on your search for optometry schools, you get to find what various programs offer or various schools offer. And with Salus, I saw that they offer a post-bacc program so I decided to apply.

  • Student Sarah Salem shown in white shirt with blurred trees and landscape in background.I actually had a unique journey to Salus. It was my second time applying to grad school, and I was already accepted somewhere else. It wasn't so much later in the game that Salus reached out to me telling me that they wanted to interview me. I ended up getting accepted here, and chose Salus University because I saw it would be beneficial to my future career.

  • I got my liberal arts associate's degree from Camden County College, and then transferred to Rowan University where I got my bachelor's in psychology. I really didn’t know what I wanted to do even in my senior year of college. I did a lot of field work afterwards, and realized my love for OT. I started applying to OT schools and got into Salus.

  • I completed my undergrad at Lebanon Valley College. I was a double major in biochem and neuroscience, and then I completed an internship my junior year at an optometry office, and I decided I wanted to pursue optometry. Something just clicked.

  • As a person from the South, I was mainly interested in optometry schools there, but I broadened my horizons and did research about schools up in the North because I didn't want to be closed minded as to what optometry school that I would attend. As I did my research, I learned about the early clinical experiences that I would gain from Salus, and that's what solidified my choice.

  • I always knew I wanted to be in the medical field since I was really young. So in college, I studied biology and then applied to physician assistant programs and decided to come to Salus.

  • Student Nicole Jeziorski shown in black shirt sitting in a well lit Salus classroom with red chairs, white tables, and windows in the background.I went to undergrad at the University of Delaware. I got a biology degree, and then I started physician assistant school here last semester. I worked at a local dermatology practice in Philadelphia that led me to Salus.

  • After graduating from Towson University in Towson, Maryland, in December, 2020, receiving my bachelor of science in biology with a minor in psychology, I was looking forward to applying to optometry school the next cycle. And I did that. I looked into a bunch of different programs and schools during my research, and found the post-baccalaureate program here. I reached out to different students to try to see if the program was a good fit for me. I heard a lot of good things about it, so I decided to apply.